We’ll embrace MDC councils — Zanu PF

HARARE – ZANU PF says it is ready to work with the MDC Alliance that won the majority number of urban local authorities in the just-ended harmonised elections.

Since the formation of the MDC in 1999, the labour backed party has been in control of most of the country’s urban councils but service delivery has been deteriorating amid allegations of political interference by the central government through successive Local Government ministers including Ignatius Chombo, Saviour Kasukuwere and recently July Moyo.

However, speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, pictured, said the ruling party was ready to put the past behind it and be progressive.

“We cannot continue to talk about what happened in the past because it is past, we need to move forward and the president is on record saying that we need to unite for the sake of progress so I do not see why the MDC councils will not work well with us for the sake of development,” Khaya Moyo said.

The ruling party information tsar, who also doubles as government spokesperson, said in any case a new Cabinet was in the offing hence it was prudent to wait for the incoming Local Government minister to spell out his or her plans.

“What you are referring to was between the past ministers and councils but as of now we cannot speak on their behalf because they have not been appointed and have not said anything yet.

“Let us wait for them to say what they want but again we are saying development comes first for us in Zanu PF so we will do everything to ensure that the relationship works,” Khaya Moyo said.

While President Emmerson Mnangagwa won both the presidential and parliamentary elections with an overwhelming majority, the same cannot be said of the local authorities.

With the ruling party having indicated its willingness to establish provincial councils in line with the country’s 2013 Constitution which provides for devolution of power, the MDC Alliance hopes to maintain its visibility through its control of provincial governments.

Successive MDC mayors, especially in Harare and other major cities, have previously complained about the behaviour of central government which they claim hampers service delivery.

Outgoing Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni once described his relationship with Kasukuwere as difficult compared to his predecessor Chombo, citing excessive interference for political expediency.

Manyenyeni alleged in a previous interview with the Daily News that vested political interests from the ruling party made it impossible for him to implement the business strategy he believed would turn around service delivery in the capital city.

Waterborne diseases, potholes, waste management and the supply of potable water are among the perennial challenges the city is faced with.

“I have bigger problems with government than I have with my party. As far as my party is concerned, firstly there are times when they fail to realise the basic political truth that the council is captured by Zanu PF, people, processes and politics,” Manyenyeni said.

“The partisan capture of many of council’s projects, people and processes is not unique to Harare — it’s a national tragedy.

“Minister Chombo was very experienced and could handle things in that context and a superior diplomat.

“My current minister would be a better minister for Harare’s turn around, but he is badly captured by partisan priorities. He is more ruthless in dealing with the opposition party under him,” Manyenyeni said. – Daily News